The Supreme Court’s decision to suspend opposition leader Rahul Gandhi’s two-year term for defaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a big victory for the nation’s top politician and might pave the way for the former lawmaker to make a comeback in the national legislature.
Justice B R Gavai ruled that the trial judge had not shown a justification for using the maximum penalty. “The order of conviction must be suspended pending the outcome of the case.”
Rahul Gandhi was given a two-year term for remarks he made in 2019 that a court found to be offensive to Prime Minister Modi and those with the same last name as him.
Gandhi was forced to resign from the Indian parliament in March as a result of the initial verdict since anyone who receives a jail term of two years or longer is unable to serve.
His conviction was the result of a remark he made during the 2019 election campaign in which he made fun of Modi by remarking that “all thieves have Modi as [their] common surname.”
Gandhi claimed that his statement was delivered “in the course of democratic political activity” in his 731-page filing to the Supreme Court.
According to the letter his party sent to AFP, his sentence was “gravely detrimental to democratic free speech.”
The defamation law has been widely charged as being utilized by Modi’s administration to intimidate critics.
Gandhi’s request to have his conviction overturned last month was denied by the Gujarat High Court.